3 seconds ago 2010-05-09T11:19:02-07:00
Whether you love it or hate it, the iPad is a hit, with Apple claiming Monday that it has already sold a million of the "magical" tablets — and at a pace more than double that of the first iPhone.
Apple sold the millionth iPad on Friday — the day that the 3G-embedded version of the iPad went on sale — according to a statement from Cupertino early Monday. Steve Jobs boasted that "demand continues to exceed supply and we're working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers."
Indeed, there were reports of iPad sellouts across the country over the weekend. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster (by way of Fortune's Apple 2.0 blog) said that of the 50 Apple stores he and his assistants called on Sunday, all but one of them had run out of the 3G-enabled iPad and most had run dry of the iPad altogether.
Back in 2007, the original iPhone took 73 days to cross the million mark. The iPad managed the same feat in just 28 days, about 2½ times as fast as the first iPhone did.
The latest iPad sales numbers account only for U.S. customers; the iPad won't make its international debut until later this month. Apple says it'll announce official overseas launch dates (already delayed due to "surprisingly strong demand" here in the States) on May 10, the day it begins taking international pre-orders.
iPad apps are selling at a blistering pace as well, Apple claims: more than 13 million iPad apps and 1.5 million iBooks downloaded. About 5,000 iPad apps are now available in the App Store, according to Apple's statement Monday.
The most popular paid app for the iPad as of Monday: Apple's own $10 Pages word processing app, followed by GoodReader (a 99-cent document reader), Numbers (Apple's $10 spreadsheet app for the iPad) and Pinball HD (an excellent pinball game for iPad, especially considering the $2.99 price tag). As far as free iPad apps go, Apple's iBooks e-reader app tops the list, followed by Weather Channel Max, the streaming Netflix app (a killer app for the iPad if there ever was one) and USA Today's iPad app.
Yet the current iPad sales figures may well pale in comparison with next year's expected iPad 2, which (I'm guessing) could see a simultaneous international launch, not to mention more storage and the oft-requested front-facing camera for video chat. Remember how iPhone sales exploded in 2008 once the speedier 3G- and GPS-enabled next-gen model arrived? I'd expect the same thing to happen for the iPad come 2011.
(Of course, don't forget that the two-year contract price for the entry-level 8GB iPhone 3G was a full $300 cheaper than the 4GB version of the original iPhone; also, Apple and AT&T probably snagged untold thousands of new customers from people who'd been waiting patiently until their existing two-year contracts with other carriers were up.)
That's just my humble opinion, though. What do you think? Is the iPad a fad that's destined to fizzle out, or will it really take off once the next-generation version arrives? Also: Did you buy an iPad 3G this weekend?
• Apple: Apple Sells One Million iPads
• Fortune Brainstorm Tech: iPad 3G sold out in 49 of 50 stores
— Ben Patterson is a technology writer for Yahoo! News.